Citizens exit Muni bus to intervene in woman’s rape, witness accounts help SFPD make arrest

San Francisco police say citizens who intervened and witnesses of a rape happening along Market Street on Wednesday helped police make an arrest when they spotted the suspect hours later. 

At around 6:30 p.m. officers from the Tenderloin Station responded to the 900 block of Market Street on the report of a sexual assault. 

When they arrived they found the victim, an unconscious 60-year-old woman. She was taken to the hospital for injuries. Officers said several witnesses told them the woman was sexually assaulted. One witness had seen what was happening from a Muni bus that was passing through and yelled for the suspect to stop. 

Others got off the bus to help the woman. Several witnesses described the suspect as a man in his 40s, wearing dark clothing. Police also obtained surveillance video of a man matching the suspect's description. 

Hours later, shortly after 1 a.m., patrol officers spotted a man on the 300 block of Golden Gate Avenue who matched the suspect's description. He was positively identified and arrested. 

Officer Robert Rueca said it was an incredibly disturbing case, but was thankful for "wonderful people who stepped forward and did the right thing." He said those who intervened are heroes. 

Rueca said the victim is expected to survive. There was no detailed information on her current medical condition.

Fidel Padilla, 41, of San Francisco, was booked in San Francisco County Jail on a count of rape. 

KTVU's Evan Sernoffsky contributed to this report.